by Kevin Stirtz
Several times a year I get a CD from a well-known PR consultant. She is a very aggressive and consistent promoter of her business. She has done a good job making herself well-known in her niche.
But, when I listen to her CD I often resist her message. Not because of its quality. She has a lot of good ideas and advice. What drives me away is the amount of time it takes to introduce her on each CD program.
Her intro seems to go on and on. It talks about every little thing she’s done. By the time I get through it I’m exhausted. Or I try to fast forward through it and I miss a big chunk of the program.
Even though this PR expert might be the best in her business, I am still left with a less than great experience when I listen to her CD program. This experience transfers to her as a professional. Whatever emotions I associate with that experience will also attached to her, in my mind.
In other words, her CD programs have the opposite of their intended effect. They don’t make me want to hire her. And the main reason for it is the long and winding intro. It makes the whole thing sound like it’s all about her.
But as a customer (or potential client) I want it to be about me. I’m interested in what I want, in what I’m trying to accomplish. I want the experience to be focused on me and my objectives.
Sure, I want to know my PR person is good. I’d like to think she or he has the experience and expertise to help me accomplish what I want.
But I determine that in many ways. A brief intro that highlights her experience and successes would help me determine this. I would also listen to and read her content. Does it mesh with my view of the world? Does it make sense to me? Does it challenge me or bring me new ideas? Does her material position her in my eyes as an expert I can trust to look out for my interests?
Most of what I base my opinion on will be the expert’s performance. It will not be based on her advertisement disguised as an introduction. An ad is an ad no matter how well you try to cloak it.
We’re in a time where advertising is becoming less effective at establishing credibility. It’s less effective at showing how good we are at what we do. We have many more tools available to us now to help people become informed about who we are and how we might help them. Blatant ads touting our greatness are a waste of time and money.
And beyond the new tools we have to communicate with our market, we also have new standards to meet. In ‘the good old days’ we were just fine blabbing about ourselves. Decades ago that worked.
But not anymore.
These days customers want it to be about them. The whole experience needs to focus on the customer, not the supplier. Customers are more knowledgeable, more informed and more demanding than ever before.
If you ask most people they’ll tell you they ARE customer focused. They exist to serve the customer is what they might say. Then you’ll see their latest TV ad or brochure or website and 90% of it talks about them. It reminds me of the song called, “Let’s Talk Me”.
When you talk about yourself (or your company, your product, your services, etc.) you are showing people that’s where your focus is. If they believe you are more focused on yourself than on them, how likely are they to want to do business with you?
Take advantage of the new economy. Work with the trends that are shaping how business gets done in the 21st century. Show your customers you are focused on them in as many ways as possible. A good start is to talk about them.